Hear about travel to the province of Galicia in Northern Span as the Amateur Traveler talks to Lisa Rose Wright about her adopted home.
Lisa and her husband first visited Galicia on a pilgrimage to its most famous city of Santiago de Compostela, but have subsequently moved to the region.
Why should you travel to Galicia?
Lisa says, “So Galicia is, I would say variety in miniature. It’s a compact package for the traveler. If I can just do a little quote from Galician poet Vicenti. Risco: ‘You say Galicia is very small. I say to you, Galicia is a world you can travel in a short time from north to south and from east to west. You can return time and again, but you won’t be able to cover it all. And every time you return, you’ll discover something new. Galicia may be small in size, but in depth, in individuality, it is as big as you wish.’”
Lisa lays out an 8-day itinerary for Galicia:
On Day 1, Lisa suggests starting the tour in A Coruña, a city on the northwest coast of Galicia. The city has a beautiful peninsula with plenty of attractions to explore, including the Torre de Hércules, the oldest active lighthouse in the world, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can also take a walk around the coastline, visit the nearby sculpture park, and explore the narrow alleyways and bars of the old town. Lisa recommends staying at the Hotel Alda Galería, a boutique-style hotel in the heart of the old town.
On Day 2, the journey continued along the west coast to the town of Muxía. Along the way, stop at the Camelle museum dedicated to an eccentric German artist called Manfred Gnädinger, who lived in Galicia and created sculptures from debris on the seashore. The journey also takes in some lovely beaches and a section of the Camiño dos Faros, a mix of rugged cliffs, sandy beaches, and grassy banks. Vimianza, a little inland, has a magnificent ancient castle. Muxía is a way-point on the Muxía-Finisterre Way, a triangular extension to the Camino de Santiago. The Sanctuary of the Virgin of the Barge in Muxía is located on a headland and has a stunning setting. The legend surrounding the sanctuary tells of the Virgin Mary arriving on the coast in a stone barge to give inspiration to St James. The day ended with a recommendation to stay at the Pensión Alemana.
On Day 3, the journey continued southwards along the rias of Galicia. The route includes a stop at Finisterre, the traditional endpoint of the Camino de Santiago, where pilgrims watch the sunset across the Atlantic Ocean. Other highlights include a visit to Fervenza do Ézaro, the only waterfall in Spain to fall directly into the sea, and a stop at Carnota beach, home to one of the longest hórreos in Galicia. The journey also passed by the Ria of Muros and Noia, with its pretty towns and history of smuggling. Along the way, stop at a Celtic hillfort and a 4,000-year-old Dolmen stone structure. The day ends at the natural park of Corrubedo, which boasts the largest mobile sand dunes in the northwest and is rumored to have the legendary city of Valverde buried beneath the sand.
Day 4 begins with a visit to Padrón, known for its Pimientos de Padrón peppers. The festival of seafood is celebrated in O Grove during the first two weeks of October. The medieval fair in Pontevedra is worth seeing in September, and the Cies and Ons Island Natural Park is an essential day trip if there is time. Head inland to Ourense, known as Galicia’s Thermal Capital. As Burgas hot springs near the Plaza Mayor are free and deliciously warm and bar hopping around the Os Viños area trying each bar’s specialty tapas is recommended.
Day 5 is a leisurely day exploring the city of Ourense, including its shopping streets, the main square, the cathedral, and thermal baths. The day also includes recommendations for unique coffee shops and the Maria Andrea restaurant. The next destination was the city of Monforte de Lemos, which has a rich history dating back to pre-Roman times. The city is home to a luxury hotel, the Parador, which is housed in a 17th-century Benedictine monastery. Visitors can also explore the medieval town and the Torre de Homenaje, a castle keep with great views of Monforte and its surroundings.
On Day 6, journey on a 155km drive through the O Courel mountains in Galicia, with beautiful scenery and plenty of places to stop and admire the views. There are side trips available, such as a catamaran trip on the Sil river or a visit to the medieval castle at Castro Caldelas. Quiroga is an interesting town with a Roman gold mine and the Montefurado tunnel. The main road north through O Courel has much to see, including the hilltop village of Castro da Torre and the ruined Castle of Carbedo. The day ends in the Roman-walled city of Lugo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with many hotels and excellent food, including free tapitas with drinks in the evening.
On Day 7, the journey takes us to the northern coastal delights of Galicia. Lugo, founded by Celtic peoples and named Lucus Augusti by the Romans, has a magnificent stone wall and a fascinating Roman manor house museum called El Domus. Casa Pozo in Meira is a good stop for lunch, and Viladonga and A Pontenova have interesting iron-age Castro sites and lime kilns, respectively. The beautiful As Catedrais or The Cathedrals, a natural rock sculpture, is a must-visit beach on the Cantabrian coast. Foz and Viveiro, seaside towns with beautiful hotels and tourist attractions, are also worth exploring.
On Day 8, the journey continues along the northwestern coast to Ortigueira, which hosts a Celtic music festival each July, and then to Ferrol, a former naval base and shipbuilding port with the castle of San Felipe guarding the ria against invaders. The journey passes through the Fragas do Eume natural park, a nature reserve of Atlantic forest or temperate rainforest with the monastery of San Caaveiro, and then continues back to A Coruña with many beaches to explore. In A Coruña, visitors can wander the coastline walkway, visit the island castle and museum of St Anton, and see the statue of Galician heroine María Pita in the old town.
Come visit this less visited, greener corner of Spain, but be advised that it may steal your heart as it did with Lisa, who moved from her home to become a permanent resident of Galicia!
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Lisa Rose Wright
Santiago de Compostela
Tower of Hercules
Monument to people executed in spanish civil war
Alda Galería hotel
Costa da Morte
Museo Man de Camelle
O Camiño dos Faros (The Lighthouse Way)
Fervenza do Ezaro (Waterfall)
Playa de Carnota
Casa Fandiño restaurant (Carnota)
Pulpo a la Gallega (Octopus)
Viking Festival of Catoira
Castro da Baroña
History of Galicia
Celtic hill forts in Galicia
Dunes of Corrubedo Natural Park
A Pobra do Caramiñal
Hotel Rural Entre Os Ríos
Herbón Pepper Festival
Seafood Festival. Fiestas in Grove, O | spain.info
Pontevedra Feira Franca
Ruins of San Domingos (Pontevedra)
Cíes Islands – Atlantic Islands of Galicia National Park
Morar Apartments (Ourense)
Thermal Train (Ourense)
Meson Case Maria Andrea (Ourense)
Monforte de Lemos
Parador de Monforte de Lemos
Medieval Fair (Monforte de Lemos)
Parque Dos Condes (Monforte de Lemos)
Castillo de Castro Caldelas
Courel Mountains (UNESCO)
Castro de A Torre
Castelo de Carbelo
Domus del Mitreo
Meson Parrillada O Pozo SL (Restaurant) (Meira)
Castro de Viladonga
Fortress Castelo de Barbedo
Ortigueira’s Festival of Celtic World
Castelo de San Felipe (Ferrol)
Fragas do Eume
Monastery of San Xoán de Caaveiro
Praza de María Pita (La Coruna)
Amazon.com: Pulpo, Pig & Peppers: travels around Galicia (Writing Home Book 4) eBook : Wright, Lisa Rose: Kindle Store
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